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Heaven Through the Backdoor

by WeOwnTV Vetted since 2014 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
Heaven Through the Backdoor


Heaven Through the Backdoor is a multi-platform documentary that tells the story of Yolanda Shae (Yo), a fiercely independent 88-year Swiss emigre whose unique brand of individualist feminism culminates in how she chooses to live in in old age and ultimately, how she prepares for her next great adventure: death. The project juxtaposes artful interpretations of true stories from Yo's past with raw and intimate documentary footage.

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When asked, most Americans have an opinion about how they want to die, but struggle to communicate and plan for that stage. The CDC reports that 70% of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, yet more than 70% actually die in a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility. 80% of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about end-of-life care, yet only 7% report having had an end-of-life conversation with their doctor.


Documentary films can connect people around issues. The films subject Yo, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and told she only had days or weeks to live. She lived for another year despite the prediction of imminent death. Yo invites us into this vulnerable rarely seen phase of life. We see her reject a medicalized death and chose to spend the end of her life in her home independently. Yo's candor, openness and humor can spark important dialogues about how we want to end our days.

Long-Term Impact

We believe that this project's unexpected, artful and intimate approach to this topic has the potential to catalyze thinking and conversation around family, aging and end of life. Thinking and talking about plans for the end of one's life is important and it often happens far too late. We want to get people talking about these issues early so that their wishes can be respected. We see this project as part of important cultural shift around attitudes towards death, old age and dying.



Organization Information


Location: San Francisco, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @GeniusofMarian
Project Leader:
Anna Fitch
San Francisco, CA United States
* This project is competing for bonus prizes
through the 2018 Year-End Campaign. Terms and conditions apply.

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